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Journalist compares covering Trump to WWII storming D-Day beach to fight Nazi Germany

President Donald Trump in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)
February 12, 2021

On Thursday, The Atlantic ran an article by Yahoo News national correspondent Alexander Nazaryan, in which he compared covering the Donald Trump presidency to U.S. troops storming the beaches of Normandy France on D-Day during World War II and fighting to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany control.

In an article originally titled “I Miss The Thrill of Trump” but later renamed to “I Was an Enemy of the People,” Nazaryan wrote, “Covering the administration was thrilling for many journalists, in the way that I imagine storming Omaha Beach must have been for a 20-year-old fresh from the plains of Kansas. He hadn’t signed up for battle, but there he was, liberating France.”

“France, by the way, is where Trump called American soldiers who’d fallen in combat ‘suckers,'” Nazaryan continued, referencing an anonymously-sourced article written for The Atlantic in September, that claimed Trump referred to American troops buried in France as “suckers” and “losers.” Trump and several other White House officials who were present at the time aggressively rejected and denounced the claim.

While Trump’s supporters objected to anonymously sourced article by The Atlantic as “presposterous and offensive,” Nazaryan wrote, “They failed to realize that the preposterous and the offensive were the twin beacons of the Trump presidency. Journalists were merely going where he led. This was our Omaha Beach. I, for one, would have rather been in Hawaii.”

In his article, Nazaryan drew another comparison between the Trump presidency and Nazi Germany, noting some Trump supporter’s use of the term Lügenpresse or “lying press.” Nazaryan wrote,”Thrilling, without a single boring day: That’s how I’d describe my four years as an enemy of the people, a lanyard-wearing member of the “Lügenpresse,” a term some Donald Trump supporters borrowed from the Nazies to refer to insufficiently flattering coverage of their movement, or of the man who led it.”

According to The Economist, the term Lügenpresse predates Nazi Germany, including use by German Catholic discourses to criticize the press after a failed effort to replicate the French revolution in Germany. The term was again used after the Franco-Prussian war ended in 1871, to refer to critical foreign French press. The term was also used during the First World War to denounce the critical foreign press, especially among the Allied powers, who referred to German war crimes in what they called “The Rape of Belgium.” The term again returned in Nazi Germany.

“The brandishing of Nazi imprecations was yet another sign that Trump took things way too far,” Nazaryan wrote. “But he didn’t exactly relegate us to the concentration camp for the unflattering stories we published. Cable news, more like it.”

Nazaryan has previously made comparisons between Republicans and Nazis. In 2016, he tweeted, “Ted Cruz has a strong ground game in Iowa” with a picture of people marching behind Nazi swastika flags. Nazaryan, who worked for Newsweek at the time, deleted the tweet and Newsweek’s editor-in-chief Jim Impoco denounced the tweet and said it “does not align with our editorial values.”